Wil Myers Rumors

Rays Notes: Myers, Johnson, Escobar

The Rays allowed the fewest runs of any MLB team in 2012, posting a team ERA of 3.19. Here’s the latest on the 2013 version of the club…

  • Wil Myers probably won't start the season at the MLB level, but he's still expected to make an impact with the Rays in 2013, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com writes. Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he's hesitant to create oversized expectations for young players. “The first impression has been very strong. So we’re anxious to spend the next four or five weeks around him and continue his development,” Friedman added. 
  • The Rays will have extended control over Myers if they delay his debut, as I showed last week. The Rays acquired the 22-year-old in the deal that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City.
  • Bill Chastain of MLB.com notes that second baseman Kelly Johnson and shortstop Yunel Escobar will become the first middle infielders to start together for three different teams since Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino, who did it for the Mets, Indians, Giants and Astros. Johnson and Escobar also played together with the Braves and Blue Jays.

Olney On Davis, Myers, Pierzynski, Hanrahan

Wade Davis told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that he’s excited to join the Royals, since he’ll be asked to start in Kansas City. The right-hander said he’s been “champing at the bit” to start again after spending the 2012 season in the bullpen. Here’s the latest from Olney, starting with the recent Rays-Royals trade

  • One GM said Wil Myers is “not without his flaws,” Olney reports. The prospect struck out 140 times this past season and, as the GM notes, “holes are exposed at the next level."
  • Olney suggests A.J. Pierzynski could be a fit for the Rays, but notes that rival evaluators don’t particularly like his defense. One agent predicts the White Sox will end up re-signing the free agent catcher.
  • The Dodgers have interest in Joel Hanrahan, Olney reports. The Pirates have some interest in Chris Capuano, so perhaps there’s a match for the two NL clubs. Both players have one guaranteed year remaining on their contracts.
  • Friends of Michael Young’s say he feels he was lied to repeatedly with the Rangers, according to Olney. The Phillies acquired the veteran infielder over the weekend after Young approved the proposed trade.

Royals To Acquire James Shields, Wade Davis

James Shields - Rays (PW)

The Royals have bolstered their starting rotation for 2013 thanks to the addition of two quality pitchers. Kansas City has agreed to acquire right-hander James Shields, right-hander Wade Davis and a player to be named or cash from Tampa Bay in exchange for outfielder Wil Myersright-hander Jake Odorizzi, left-hander Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard, according to a team release.

Kansas City's continued commitment to acquiring veteran pitching talent as seen with Shields and Davis has the Royals with their eyes on competing as soon as 2013. Shields, soon to turn 31, brings a career 87-73 record and 3.89 ERA to the Midwest after finishing third in the AL Cy Young vote for the 2011 season. Beyond his stats, Shields brings leadership to the Royals clubhouse after mentoring young pitchers in Tampa Bay. Davis, 27 and fresh off his first season in the bullpen, enjoyed success with the Rays in 2012. With an ERA of 2.43 and his strikeout total of 87, Davis' combination for a reliever could only be matched by Angels right-hander Ernesto Frieri. As a starter, Davis has posted a 4.22 ERA in 64 starts. 

Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the organization will have Shields under team control through the 2014 season ('14 as a team option) and Davis potentially remaining blue and white through 2017 (with '16 and '17 as team options) (via Twitter). The duo will join a starting rotation already home to Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin SantanaBruce Chen and Luke Hochevar.

For the Rays, blessed with more than enough pitching to continue to call their rotation an asset, the addition of Myers provides Tampa Bay with another building block to complement their star player in Evan Longoria. Myers, who turns 22 on Monday, enters the 2013 season as the reigning 2012 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .304/.378/.554 in 99 games this season at Triple-A Omaha.

Beyond Myers, the Rays also acquired three prospects from the Royals who all check in at 23 years old or younger. Odorizzi, arguably the most talented of the bunch, took home his team's Pitcher of the Year award this past season while playing with Myers. The right-hander pitched to a 2.93 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 over the course of 107.1 innings. He made his Major League debut in September where he had the opportunity to make two starts for the Royals.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first broke the details of the trade (via Twitter). Photo courtesy of US Presswire.



R.A. Dickey Rumors: Friday

Multiple teams remain involved in talks for R.A. Dickey, but it's still possible the Mets will extend the knuckleballer instead of trading him. The reigning National League Cy Young winner appears to seek two years and $26MM in addition to his $5MM salary for 2013. Here are the latest rumors about contract talks for Dickey and potential trades…

  • GM Sandy Alderson repeated that the Mets might end up holding onto Dickey instead of trading or extending him, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Though that's not “necessarily the optimal result,” the Mets are prepared for that possibility. One competing NL official said it'd be a mistake not to trade or extend Dickey, however.

Earlier updates:

  • The Royals seem "very interested" in Dickey, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (allTwitterlinks). However, they wouldn't be interested in sending top prospect Wil Myers to New York for the knuckleballer. Dickey, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson remain in play for the Royals, Dutton reports. However, it now seems unlikely that the Red Sox will move Jon Lester.
  • The Mets view the Blue Jays, Royals and Rangers as the most likely trade suitors for Dickey, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). In Olney's view Dickey's contract demands may seem more reasonable based on some recent free agent contracts.

Latest On The Royals

The latest on the Royals, who continue to seek a front-rotation starting pitcher…

  • The Royals are exploring a group of free agent starters that includes Brett Myers, Kevin Correia, and Jair Jurrjens, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, which could be a backup plan if they fail to acquire a No. 1.  Dutton has heard differently, saying he's been told the Royals have no intention for now of pursuing any pitcher who wouldn't front their rotation.
  • The Royals' payroll pinch is tighter than initially believed, explains Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  In fact, the team appears to already be over budget.  Regarding the Shields talks, a Royals official told Dutton, "It’s not like we’re going to bend over backward,” one club official said. “We’re not going to do that. We want to make a trade to get another starter, be it Shields or someone else, but we don’t feel we have to make a trade."  The Rays are likely to wait to move Shields until Zack Greinke signs, writes Dutton.

Earlier updates:


R.A. Dickey Rumors: Tuesday

The Mets reportedly met with eight teams on Monday in Nashville to discuss potential R.A. Dickey deals, as we heard in yesterday's round-up of Dickey rumors. New York still hasn't made a final decision on whether to trade the Cy Young winner or extend him, but one report yesterday suggested the team was getting "serious" about finding a deal, so the focus appears to be on a trade for now. Here are Tuesday's updates on the knuckleballer, with the latest notes added to the top of the page throughout the day:

Earlier updates:

  • The Mets remain undecided on trading Dickey, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.  But if he is dealt, Martino's source says to keep a close eye on the Rangers, the team that drafted Dickey in '96 and had him for the first decade of his career.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin, who made that draft pick for Texas back in the day, told reporterstoday he spoke to the Mets about Dickey but "it doesn't appear to be a match."  Names were not exchanged.
  • Dollars, not years, are the stumbling block in extension talks between Dickey and the Mets, Dickey's agent tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  Said agent Bo McKinnis, "There is something longer term that would appeal to us and something shorter term.
  • Dickey's agent Bo McKinnis says little progress has been made with the Mets in extension talks, according to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal (via Twitter). "We're just talking in different neighborhoods in terms of dollars," McKinnis said.
  • McKinnis wouldn't be surprised if Dickey is traded, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com
  • The Mets are telling teams that they won't go the "Carlos Beltran route" with Dickey and just trade him for one prospect, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Because suitors would have Dickey for a full year rather than a half-season and would have a better chance of extending Dickey, the Mets are seeking multiple prospects (Twitterlinks).
  • Extension negotiations between Dickey and the Mets are currently at a standstill, which is increasing expectations that the right-hander will be dealt, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and SiriusXM (via Twitter).
  • The Mets continue to aim high in their talks with the Royals, pushing for top prospect Wil Myers, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Rubin doesn't specify who would be going to the Royals in this hypothetical deal, but I assume it'd be either Dickey or fellow trade candidate Jonathon Niese.
  • Andy Martino hears from a very good source that he thinks Dickey will remain with the Mets (Twitter link). However, the Daily News scribe cautions that there are a lot of balls in the air and things could change quickly.
  • Although Alderson and the Mets would like to resolve the Dickey situation as soon as possible, they may still spend the week weighing trade offers and make a decision after returning to New York, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
  • Following up on yesterday's report that the Mets have spoken to at least eight teams about Dickey, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com lists the Royals, Orioles, Rangers, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Nationals as clubs in the mix. According to Heyman, the Nats are the least likely of those suitors to land Dickey, since the Mets would prefer not to trade within the division.
  • One Mets insider predicted to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the team will hang on to Dickey this winter, with a deal only likely if another club decides to "seriously overpay." Rubin also hears that, in extension talks, Dickey is seeking three years after 2013, rather than two
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson is targeting a "difference maker" in Dickey negotiations, as Mike Puma of the New York Post writes. "It doesn’t have to be a catcher, it doesn’t have to be an outfielder, it doesn’t have to be anything," Alderson said. "But it has to be a difference maker, because R.A. is a difference maker.
  • Addressing the notion that the asking price for Dickey is sky-high, one Mets source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter link), "It should be. He won the Cy Young."

Billy Butler Rumors: Tuesday

Yesterday there was quite a bit of speculation regarding interest from both the Orioles and Mariners in Billy Butler. We'll keep track of any new rumors regarding Country Breakfast right here, with the latest info on top…

  • Although he cautions that the Royals aren't actively looking to move Wil Myers, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets that Kansas City is "definitely" more open to the idea of moving Myers than Butler.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick spoke with two sources familiar with the talks that told him speculation about a possible Butler-to-Seattle deal is "significantly overblown" (Twitter link).

Morning Rumors: Otani, Braves, Wang, Indians

The most fun week of baseball's offseason is here, as 2012's Winter Meetings get underway in Nashville. With a ton of activity expected over the next few days, we don't want to let anything fall through the cracks, so let's round up a few Monday morning updates from around MLB:

  • 18-year-old Japanese pitcher Shohei Otani, who announced in October that he intended to sign with an MLB team, may now be leaning toward staying in Japan, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), who cites reports out of Japan. A decision from Otani is expected this week, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
  • If the Braves make a move this week, it's more likely to be a trade than a signing, says Mark Bowman of MLB.com, who tweets that Atlanta has "minimal interest" in the outfielders on the free agent market. The team's interest in free agents could increase if asking prices drop, but that's not likely to happen this early in the offseason, tweets Bowman. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more details on the Braves' search for a left fielder.
  • The Rays' agreement with James Loney makes them an unlikely fit for Eric Hosmer or Billy Butler now, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. If the Royals were to pursue a Rays pitcher via trade, Kansas City may have to offer Wil Myers, Dutton adds.
  • Given the weak third base market, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports thinks the Padres may be motivated to sell high on Chase Headley and send him to the Yankees (Twitter link).
  • Coming off an injury-shortened 2012 season, Chien-Ming Wang may not sign with an MLB team until midseason, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com (Twitter link).
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer thinks the Reds will make a run at Dexter Fowler, but doesn't expect the team to give up Homer Bailey to make it happen.
  • The Dodgers may have a tricky time targeting an outfielder, since they need a starting-caliber player but can't promise a starting job, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
  • If the Indians decide to go all-in on their rebuild, they could extract young pitching talent from a team like the Mariners or Diamondbacks, says ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider link). Cleveland's asking price for Asdrubal Cabrera is "steep in terms of young pitchers," according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Jim Bowden has identified a trade candidate for all 30 MLB teams, along with potential suitors for each player.
  • After a quiet Winter Meetings in 2011, the Red Sox figure to be more active this year, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, as he explores a few of the team's potential targets.

Royals, Mets Discussed R.A. Dickey

The Royals have talked to the Mets about R.A. Dickey as they continue to search for a top-of-the-rotation starter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reported this week that the Royals have had discussions about trading Wil Myers for Jon Lester or James Shields.

The Royals aren’t looking to trade Myers and have no interest in moving Salvador Perez, Heyman writes. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler are close to untouchable and the Royals aren’t inclined to trading Alcides Escobar, either. Instead, the Royals would prefer to send the Mets younger prospects in a deal for Dickey. 

If the Royals were to acquire Dickey, the 2012 NL Cy Young winner, he’d join Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana and others in Kansas City.

"Our rotation is going to better, but we're still looking for the opportunity to improve on what we've done,'' Royals GM Dayton Moore told Heyman.

The Royals seem interested in trading Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen. Doing so might free up salary for Moore, who now has up to $6MM to spend, according to Heyman.

The Mets have explored the possibility of a contract extension with Dickey, who will earn $5MM in 2013 before hitting free agency. If they trade the knuckleballer, they’d prefer a catcher and outfield help.


Royals Interested In Shields, Lester

8:51pm: A Major League source confirmed to WEEI's Rob Bradford that the two teams have indeed discusseda trade that would center around Lester and Myers. According to Bradford, the talks also included the possibility of Boston sending outfield help to Kansas City with some pitching heading back to the Red Sox. He echoes that nothing is close.

6:55pm: The Royals have already added Ervin Santana to their rotation and brought back Jeremy Guthrie this offseason, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that general manager Dayton Moore would like to add one more impact arm to his rotation. According to Dutton, Moore's preference is to acquire that arm by dealing prospects rather than Major League talent, and there have been discussions about using top prospect Wil Myers to acquire James Shields or Jon Lester.

Dutton writes that the Royals are currently weighing whether or not six years of Myers is worth two years of either Lester or Shields. One Royals source told Dutton that it's easy to project Myers as a 30-homer bat at the Major League level within the next two-to-three seasons. At the moment, the Royals, Red Sox and Rays are all said to be hesitant, and no deal is close.

Beyond the debate of which commodity is worth more, the Royals also need to consider their 2013 payroll. Barring a significant increase, the team would have to clear money in order to acquire either contract for next season. That, writes Dutton, could mean moving Bruce Chen's contract and/or taking a "hard look" at Luke Hochevar and Felipe Paulino. Both are due significant raises in arbitration, as Matt Swartz recently projected for MLBTR.

Myers ranks as the Royals' top prospect according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com. The 22-year-old batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last season, cementing himself as one of the game's most coveted minor leaguers.

Jeff Francoeur currently projects as Kansas City's right fielder but is coming off a dreadful season in which he hit just .235/.287/.378. The Royals would need to be confident that Francoeur could return to his 2011 numbers if they were to trade Myers, and even still would have a hole in right field beyond 2013.